Dear Reviewer… Supplementary Material

Dear reviewer,

I was going to write the following:

Thank you for reviewing my manuscript and the useful suggestions. Just one thing, when you write that I refer to additional results in an appendix (“which by the way was not included”), please download the supplementary material I have provided… it addresses almost all of your concerns.

However, I’d have to take it all back: Let me blame the submission system used! You are doing a free service to the scientific community, and the journals should not make it hard to find supplementary material.

I have previously included supplementary material as a ‘picture’ so that it comes attached to the manuscript you download, but was told off for not using the correct container. At least this time I will have unlimited space in the response letter to indicate that the supplementary material was already there… and next time I’ll probably ‘abuse’ the picture container again.

P.S. For another paper, the copy editor in India could not find the supplementary material — that’s scary.

Image: CC-by Mariya Chorna

Read Your Manuscript Aloud

No, I don’t mean you should read your paper at a conference, that’s just too boring to listen to (so even if you have something interesting to say, we might not be paying attention). You should read your manuscript aloud before submitting it to a journal (or an abstract before you submit it to a conference). Reading aloud is quite useful to check the manuscript because doing so slows you down: you read it more carefully — and you might spot things you want to change.